PHILADELPHIA (CBS)–The Temple Owls are still licking their wounds from South Bend.
Temple entered the 2017 season with high hopes at Notre Dame on Saturday. They left the field three hours later on the receiving end of a 49-16 blowout loss. The Temple defense was torched for 606 yards of total offense by the Fighting Irish, with 422 of those yards coming from the ground. Players such as Defensive Lineman Sharif Finch believe Saturday’s game was an aberration of what lies ahead at the hands of one of the top offensive units in the country.
“Little mistakes become big mistakes when you’re playing a good team,” said Finch. “As a senior, I’ve got to lead and make sure guys know their assignments. It’s just little stuff. Rushing for over 400 yards on us is not Temple Football. We’ve just got to get back to our brand of football.”
The Owls will get their opportunity to get back to basics against a city rival on Saturday. Temple will take on Villanova at the Linc as the two schools meet for the first time in five years. The Owls have won the last three meetings and would appear to have an advantage against their FCS opponents. However, Temple Coach Geoff Collins has plenty of high praise for the Wildcats.
“I think there is a great amount of respect for what they do and they wins they’ve had over time,” Collins said. “You turn the game film on and there are good players doing really good stuff in some complicated schemes. There’s a healthy respect for every team we play, especially this one.”
While the defense struggled against Notre Dame, the offense has some bright moments led by their new quarterback. Logan Marchi threw for 245 yards and two touchdowns and hardly looked out of place at Notre Dame Stadium. Marchi believes he still has plenty of work to do but is confident things will get better for the Owls as they move forward.
“It felt good to finally play,” said Marchi. “I felt good out there and felt confident. I’ve got great guys around me to rally behind and offensively, we performed well. We’ve got to be better as a team going into this week.”
It will not take long for the Owls to find out if last Saturday was simply a bump in the road or a more ominous sign of things to come. Collins was quick to point out how his defense improved after a rough first quarter against the Irish. Linebacker Shaun Bradley believes the season opener will prove to be a learning experience.
“There was inexperience,” Bradley said. We had three linebackers that just started their first game and our quarterback. It all played a part. We had to get those jitters of the first game out of the way. We should be all right.”